The Complete Guide to Blockchain

Blockchain technology

The Complete Guide to Blockchain.

Blockchain was made popular by the cryptocurrency bitcoin, but this technology can be used to track anything of value and has the potential to change our world forever. Find out how blockchain works in this introduction to blockchain technology, including how it can be used in your life and the major ways it’s being used today.

What is blockchain?

Blockchain technology

The most important thing about blockchain is that it is decentralized. No single entity has overall control over it. Its data is also public and easily verifiable. In short, blockchain is a secure database, distributed across a network of computers, that no one person or organization can corrupt or tamper with in any way.

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This decentralization means that there’s no single point of failure, and no central point of control. It also means that, if properly implemented and verified by multiple parties, blockchain data is immutable: it can never be changed or tampered with in any way. This is why blockchain networks are often referred to as being trustless.

While a traditional business relationship might require you to place your trust in someone else—and ultimately depend on their honesty—blockchain applications allow people who don’t know or trust each other to complete business transactions safely and securely.

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How does blockchain work?

Think of blockchain as a spreadsheet that lives in multiple places at once. Instead of being stored on one computer, it is distributed across thousands of computers—hence its nickname, the Google Docs of information.

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This spreadsheet contains every transaction ever made using bitcoin, but it is constantly updated and cannot be altered in any way. Each entry into the spreadsheet contains several pieces of information: who sent how much bitcoin to whom on what date.

Since every transaction is instantly uploaded and validated across all of these computers, there is no chance for fraud or conflicting information. Each computer then sends its updated copy of that spreadsheet to every other computer.

This process is known as mining because it mimics actual mining, such as extracting gold from deep within mountains. These miners are competing with each other for a reward, paid in bitcoin for maintaining the blockchain and keeping it safe from hackers who would corrupt its contents.

Where do I start with blockchain?

If you’re completely new to blockchain, you may find yourself a little overwhelmed by all of its uses. To really understand what it can do, and what it isn’t able to do yet, first familiarize yourself with blockchain as a concept.

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From there, take a look at why some people are so excited about where they think it could lead (and consider how likely or not likely they are to be right). Consider how you might best put your own use case into action—or if that’s even something you should try to tackle on your own.

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Who are the people behind blockchain?

It’s led by an industry veteran who has been involved in blockchain since as early as 2012. Emin Gün Sirer, a Cornell University professor of computer science, is also on board with his expertise in system security and distributed systems. Peter Smith is one of Coinbase’s founders and its chief executive officer; he’s very familiar with how digital currency works. Adam White is another co-founder and director of business development at Coinbase.

How can I learn more about blockchain technology?

The best way to learn about blockchain technology is to get your hands dirty. Sign up for a free account on a popular cryptocurrency exchange like Coinbase or Kraken, install their apps, and spend some time getting acquainted with them.

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Also, Watch tutorials on YouTube; search for discussions on Reddit. If you’re more of a visual learner, you might prefer sites like Steemit and Hackernoon, which aren’t exclusively focused on cryptocurrency but still give valuable insight into how blockchain works.

 What can I do with blockchain technology?

Think of all of your favorite websites, like Facebook and YouTube. Do you think these companies will be around in twenty years? Most likely, yes. That’s because large centralized companies have massive economies of scale on their side—it’s easier for them to build and maintain a massive server infrastructure than it is for smaller competitors. With blockchain technology, anyone with an internet connection can set up their own server infrastructure and compete with Amazon or Google—no expensive data centers required.

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